AT&T mandated by Michigan PSC to file interconnection agreement with Sprint

AT&T (NYSE: T) has been told by the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) that it now has to file an IP service interconnection agreement with Sprint (NYSE: S).

Coming on the heels of an earlier arbitration agreement, the PSC released an order requiring the telco to file such an agreement with the state.

In the order it issued last week, the PSC further upheld its decision in response to AT&T not filing an agreement that covered the provision of IP interconnection.

Michigan's PSC in December overturned a decision by an arbitration panel that said carriers should wait for the FCC to negotiate interconnection terms. 

In its decision, the PSC ruled that AT&T is required to provide Sprint IP interconnection for the transmission of telephone calls that "AT&T provides to itself, affiliates or third parties pursuant to Section 251(c)(2) of the Act."

Sprint has garnered VoIP interconnection agreements with about 12 non-incumbent telcos, while fellow CLEC tw telecom (Nasdaq: TWTC) has signed five, including one with a cable operator.

This development was hailed by COMPTEL, an organization that provides advocacy for competitive service providers.

"I think it's a good outcome for the competitive industry," said Angie Kronenberg, chief advocate and general counsel for COMPTEL, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "You have confirmation that this state believes that IP interconnection is covered under section 251 and 252 of the Telecom Act."

Previously, Sprint requested IP interconnection and in the earlier arbitration the PSC made a determination that IP interconnection should be made available.

Kronenberg said that when AT&T filed the interconnection, "they indicated they were still working on it so the FCC has clarified that they have to file it with them and gave them a timeframe when they must get it filed by April 1."

Michigan is not the only state where one of the dominant telcos is engaged in a fight over IP interconnection.

A similar case is pending in Massachusetts where competitive providers are asking that the interconnection agreement Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) have made be made public. It is expected that the Department of Telecommunications and Cable will make a decision on that issue by the end of this summer.

Verizon has come under fire from competitive providers and industry groups for making partners sign a confidentiality agreement when they become an interconnection partner.

For more:
- see the Michigan PSC filing (.pdf)

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Verizon, incumbents need to play fair in the IP VoIP interconnection game
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